Sachems / Chiefs - Leaders

Vardy Collins was born 1764 in Grayson Co., VA, and died Bef. 1860 in Hancock Co, TN.  He married PEGGY GIBSON.  She was born about 1773 in NC, and died Aft. 1850 in Hancock Co, TN.
Vardy has been called the "patriarch of the Melungeons", and has been speculated to have been one of the first settlers in the Newmans Ridge/Blackwater area. But a check of the records indicates that Vardy may not have arrived in Hawkins/Hancock Co until ca 1810. There were other Collins and Gibsons in S.W. VA and E. TN earlier than 1810, but it is not sure whether they were in the Newmans Ridge/Blackwater area. He was in Wilkes Co, NC in 1790, according to the census. He was listed in the Ashe Co, NC census in 1800, and in Hawkins Co, TN in 1810.

"These two, Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson, were the head and source of the Melungeons in Tennessee. With the cunning of their Cherokee ancesters, they planned and executed a scheme by which they were enabled to “set up for themselves” in the almost unbroken Territory of North Carolina.

Old Buck, as he was called, was disguised by a wash of some dark description, and taken to Virginia by Vardy where he was sold as a slave. He was a magnificent specimen of physical strength, and brought a fine price, a wagon and mules, a lot of goods, and three hundred dollars in money being paid to old Vardy for his "likely nigger". Once out of Richmond, Vardy turned his mules shoes and stuck out for the wilderness of North Carolina, as previously planned. Buck lost little time ridding himself of his negro disguise, swore he was not the man bought of Collins , and followed in the wake of his fellow thief to the Territory. The proceeds of the sale were divided and each chose his habitation; old Vardy choosing Newman’s Ridge, where he was  soon joined by others of his race, and so the Melungeons became a part of the inhabitants of Tennessee."

Baty Collins Family, Grandson of Vardy Collins, and
Margaret "Peggy" Gibson, through their son Alfred Collins.


Saponi Family of Joseph Collins, Mellisa and Jessie.
Joseph Collins/Aaron Collins/Stephen Collins
(B 1800 Grainger Co.,TN)/Aaron Collins/David Collins


The legend of how Vardy and Shepard Gibson came to Hawkins/Hancock  Co was told in Will Allen Dromgoole's "Four Branches of Melungeon Tree" (1890's)(refering to Shepard as "Buck") ;
Descendants of Vardy Collins by Kevin Mullins

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